The London School of Economics and Political Science is facing increased criticism over its ties to Mu’ammer Gaddafi, whose son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi earned a Ph.D. at the university and made large donations to it. Times Higher Education reported that students have expressed outrage that these donations led to agreements by the London School of Economics to operate programs in Libya -- since called off. Students took over a building to demand, among other things, that some of the Gaddafi money be used for scholarships. A statement from the university says that it “shares the students’ revulsion at the recent violence and gross violations of human rights in Libya, and much regrets the association of the school’s name with Saif Gaddafi and the actions of the Libyan regime."
Higher Education Quick Takes
James Franco has posted a photograph expressing his four-letter-word feelings about The Yale Daily News, the student newspaper at the institution where he is earning his Ph.D. While Franco did not detail his complaints about the publication, it has poked fun at his Oscar hosting and his use of Twitter, among other things. Cokey Cohen, author of some of the articles that may have insulted Franco, responded to the photo in a piece in which Cohen defended his early critiques of the "lame-ness of James Franco's Twitter," but said the photo response was more creative.
Castleton State College said Tuesday that it had replaced its head football coach after an investigation into charges that he broke National Collegiate Athletic Association rules by helping a player get $22,000 in student loans. The Vermont public college said that the coach, Rich Alercio, had been accused by the NCAA of arranging for a part-time employee of the college to co-sign or endorse three loans for an unidentified player, which would violate the association's rules against improper benefits for athletes.
A week after the chancellor of the University System of Ohio resigned to allow the state's new Republican governor to appoint his own higher ed leader, Governor John Kasich announced the appointment of a former attorney general to the job. James Petro, who served as state auditor and attorney general in Republican administrations in Ohio and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, will replace Eric D. Fingerhut, who was the first chancellor of the statewide system established under Kasich's predecessor, former Governor Ted Strickland. Some state policy experts and Ohio college leaders have expressed concern that the system's governance structure -- in which the chancellor is selected by the governor and closely aligned with him (or her) -- would make Ohio public higher education too susceptible to political turnover and turbulence, and perhaps threaten the new system. When he ran for governor in 2005, Petro reportedly proposed creating two higher education boards, one for four-year and one for two-year colleges. But he told local reporters Monday that he supported the new structure.
The push by Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin to end collective bargaining rights for public higher education has led one union to push for a quick contract. The adjunct union at Madison Area Technical College has been in a dispute with the institution over assigning courses -- a system that the adjuncts say favors full-time faculty members at their expense. The adjuncts are now offering to drop the issue (including a lawsuit over it) in return for quick ratification of a contract on which other issues have already been resolved, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
The U.S. Department of Labor Monday invited grant applications for the $122-million Career Pathways Innovation Fund. The announcement coincided with the first of four regional community college summits being hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. Introduced last year by the Labor Department, the Career Pathways Innovation Fund replaced the existing Community-Based Job Training Program. Labor Department officials hope this new grant will bolster some of the career pathways models already in place in several states. Financial awards will be given to “community colleges and consortia of community colleges that are developing or expanding career pathway programs in partnership with education and training providers, employers, and the workforce investment system.” At least $65 million of the total funds will be reserved “for projects that focus on the health care sector.” The Labor Department will fund “approximately 40 to 50 grants ranging from $1 million to $5 million.”
The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York approved Monday the creation of the system’s first new community college in 43 years. The new institution, which has been in development since 2008, will adopt strict policies aimed at producing high student retention and graduation rates. All its students must enroll full time and take a predetermined core curriculum; they will have only 12 majors to choose from, all of them career-oriented.
The institution will open in Manhattan in the fall of 2012. It will initially enroll just 500 students, with the eventual goal of having up to 3,000. The Board of Trustees also approved the new community college’s first eight degree programs: associate’s degrees in business administration, energy services management, environmental science, health information technology, human services, information technology, liberal arts & sciences, and urban studies. Now that the trustees have approved the new college, the proposal goes to the New York State Board of Regents for final review of the institution and its initial set of academic programs.
Six higher education groups are urging the U.S. Senate to pass long-delayed legislation this week to overhaul federal patent laws. In a letter to senators, the Association of American Universities and five other associations express their support for the measure, S. 23. The legislation would more closely align U.S. patent laws with those in Europe and Asia in several ways, including by granting patents for a particular innovation to the first inventor to file a patent for it, rather than, necessarily, to the creator of the innovation. An amendment is expected this week that would eliminate the legislation's "first-inventor-to-file" provision, which some lawmakers say would tilt the system against individual inventors and entrepreneurs. The college groups urge senators to reject the amendment.